While experimenting with taking yeast out of my diet recently, I found I was without my classic, beloved Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
I like putting cashew parmesan on my favorite meals, like Eggplant Parmesan, roasted vegetables, and pizza. So life just wasn’t the same without it. And I know many of you have been in a similar boat trying to avoid nutritional yeast. So I got to work developing a yeast-free version of the classic recipe.
The trick to making major swaps like this is replacing the ingredient with something that tastes similar or reminds your brain of the flavors of the ingredient you’re omitting.
In this case, it’s all about the salt — and adding in some classic Italian herbs and seasonings like garlic, dried basil and oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flake.
Bonus? This recipe requires just 6 ingredients you likely have on hand right now, 5 minutes, and a blender or food processor to make. Shall we?!
This recipe is simply a blend of sea salt, raw cashews (if you’re sensitive to cashews, try a blend of the nuts I recommend in this Cashew-Free version), garlic powder, dried herbs, and a little red pepper flake.
Besides flavor, the other trick to getting it close to “real parmesan” is the texture! I found blending this into a super fine, powdery meal in a small blender was key.
Real parmesan cheese is easily shaken over dishes and almost melts into them, partly because of how light and fluffy it is. This is why I recommend using a small blender as opposed to a food processor, because it’s able to get the texture even more fine.
I took one bite of this “cheese” and was blown away by how close it is to the real thing!
I hope you LOVE this “cheese!” It’s:
Quick & easy to make
SUPER close to the real thing
& SO delicious
Into dairy-free cheese? Be sure to check out our Original Cashew Parmesan Cheese, Spicy Pimento Vegan Cheese Ball, Garlic & Herb Vegan Cheese, Probiotic-Cultured Vegan Cheese, 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso, and Easy Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese!”
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Yeast-Free Cashew Parmesan
- 1 cup raw cashews (we haven’t tested other nuts, but Brazil nuts and hemp seeds might work)
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano (you can use fresh herbs, but the “cheese” won’t last as long)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil (you can use fresh herbs, but the “cheese” won’t last as long)
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flake (omit for less spice, but it does round out the flavor)
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding garlic for depth of flavor, red pepper flake for heat, basil or oregano for richer herb flavor, and salt to taste (you want this pretty salty to mock the “parmesan cheese” flavor).
- Transfer to container and store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for 3-4 weeks refrigerated, or in the freezer for 1 month, sometimes longer. Great for use on top of vegan pizza, breadsticks, pastas, and gratins. It’s also a great addition to vegan meatballs!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.